Due to the challenges of performing research on space crew who go on space missions, a number of ground-based spaceflight analogs have been developed over time to overcome some of the limitations of researching space crew. Such analog models enable a more controlled study design, inclusion of a higher number of subjects in a shorter time, research on the effects of specific factors of spaceflight rather than all factors simultaneously, and more. Head-down bed rest (HDBR) is such an analog model where participants are bedridden with their heads slanted 6° downward. This set-up mimics the unloading of the lower limbs and a redistribution of bodily fluids that trigger adaptations to circulatory systems in the body, among which the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). We will perform a study where brain MRI scans will be acquired in the HDBR campaign participants at multiple time points before, during, and after a HDBR period of 60 days in a total of 48 subjects divided over two campaigns. Furthermore, half of the participants will undergo an artificial gravity countermeasure and exercise regime, while the other half will not. This allows us to evaluate whether these countermeasures and excercises have beneficial effects to counteract the effects induced by HBDR.


  • Project proposal: written and approved in 2020
  • First campaign: first quarter 2022
  • Second campaign: last quarter 2022